Daimler Trucks North America said the company’s previously announced layoffs at its Freightliner production facilities will be “significantly lower” than the 1,300 jobs it had projected earlier this year.
About 340 workers will lose their jobs April 8 at the Freightliner plant in Cleveland, N.C., down from 715 potential layoffs announced in January, according to a report in the Salisbury Post. Potential layoffs at the Gastonia Components and Logistics Plant and the Mount Holly truck manufacturing plant will not take place. As previously announced, Daimler will cut 230 jobs at the manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore.
In January, Daimler announced 1,300 potential layoffs at several facilities. Now, expected layoffs total 600 jobs in Cleveland and Portland.
Although the heavy truck industry is still performing below optimal levels, present order intake and industry leading market share gains have enabled Daimler to reduce layoffs, a company spokesman said.
Daimler expects that market conditions will improve throughout 2013, and the workers could be recalled if orders increase.
“Our flexible, highly scalable manufacturing operations will be ready to recall workers impacted by the layoff if conditions continue to improve,” spokesman David Giroux said.
Despite slower economic and freight growth this year, Daimler’s outlook is driven by the extreme age of the truck population in North America, Giroux said. Presently, the average age of Class 8 trucks is beyond their normal operational lifecycle. Daimler is well-positioned to capitalize on aging equipment replacement needs with the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution that has been proven to be the industry’s new benchmark in fuel efficiency and performance, he said.
Officials at Oregon-based Daimler Trucks North America said Tuesday (Jan. 29) they are planning significant layoffs at their plants in the United States and Mexico — layoffs that apparently include the company’s three Freightliner plants in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
The Charlotte Observer reported that the company made the announcement as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which requires companies to provide advance notice when 500 or more jobs will be cut.
Daimler Trucks issued a brief statement Tuesday and said additional details will come Thursday.
But employee meetings were held in at least some of the plants Tuesday, and workers said they heard up to 1,300 layoffs are possible at the company’s plants.
Freightliner, parent to Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), employs 2,900 people at a truck manufacturing plant in Mount Holly and a parts factory in Gastonia. Another 2,100 people work at a manufacturing plant in the Rowan County town of Cleveland. Freightliner also has plants in Gaffney, S.C.; High Point; and Portland, Ore.
Employees who spoke with reporters Tuesday indicated the largest number of layoffs — in the hundreds — would come at the Mount Holly and Cleveland plants.
Daimler Trucks cut 2,100 jobs in 2009 and 2010 but added more than 1,500 jobs in 2011. President Obama visited the Mount Holly plant last March, saying the new jobs were a sign of the economic recovery. At the time, the company said there was increased demand for trucks and parts in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Strong sales of Mercedes luxury cars in China and the United States helped German automaker Daimler AG post a stronger than expected 57% increase in fourth-quarter profits.
Bloomberg reported that the Stuttgart-based company, parent to Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Freightliner, made net profit of $2.36 billion during the quarter. The company also recorded a record profit for the full year, up 29% from the year before, and increased its dividend.
But it issued a cautious outlook Thursday (Feb. 9), saying next year’s profits would only equal this year’s and that the debt crisis afflicting the 17-nation eurozone would mean a flat market in Western Europe.
In 2011 though, Daimler benefited from a strong sales performance of its Mercedes luxury brand, which saw sales jump in two key markets. They were up 42% in China and 44% in the United States. Operating earnings for the division, however, rose by a more modest 5%.
The division’s strong sales performance helped overall revenue rise 10% from the fourth quarter of 2010, coming in above forecasts.
Daimler’s Mercedes van business, including its Sprinter division, and its financial services division saw strong operating profit increases. The trucks unit, including Freightliner, expects sales to increase this year on growth in the U.S. and a recovery in Japan and is targeting an average return on sales of 8% across a business cycle starting in 2013.
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, continues its holistic fleet approach to fuel efficiency with significant expansion of its lower polluting, energy-efficient vehicles.
Within the next two months, FedEx Express will place 24 new all-electric vehicles into service that includes four Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. vehicles, according to a press release. The company s also expanding to three new cities and more than doubling its fleet to 43 all-electric vehicles while growing the diversity of suppliers it uses for electric vehicles.
At the same time, FedEx Express will be adding more hybrid-electrics, using composite vehicles and upgrading over a tenth of its conventional vehicle fleet to more energy-efficient vehicles.
“We are using efficient technologies that are readily available now, while investing in innovative technologies that we hope and believe can be vehicle workhorses for the future,” explained Dennis Beal, vice president of Global Vehicles at FedEx Express. “Our goal has always been to optimize and operate our vehicle fleet in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner, so that emissions are reduced while serving our customers in the best possible manner.”
FedEx Express is bringing new all-electric delivery vehicles to New York City, Chicago and Memphis, and diversifying the existing Los Angeles fleet. In all, FedEx will add into service 15 Navistar eStar electric vehicles, two FCCC eCell electric vehicles and two FCCC electric vehicle retrofits, and five Ford Transit Connect Electric vans to complement the current 19 all-electric vehicles deployed in Los Angeles, London and Paris.
Not just an expansion in vehicle count, these vehicles will be studied to help evolve all-electric vehicle technology and to establish a foundation of understanding on utility grid needs by modeling impact of future all-electric vehicle growth on the shared energy grid.
• In New York, FedEx Express will be working with GE and Columbia University’s Engineering School to study energy grid impacts in an effort to project how large vehicle deployments would impact the energy grid.
• In Chicago, FedEx Express will be comparing different all-electric vehicle technologies to determine what works best for its fleet needs.
• In Memphis, FedEx Express is retrofitting existing vehicles to make them all-electrics, saving resources through using existing vehicle bodies. And, FedEx has added five Transit Connect Electric vans from Ford Motor Company and Azure Dynamics to support the corporate Information Technology Asset Disposal program, driving regularly scheduled routes to pick up, recycle, reuse and dispose of IT assets.
• In Los Angeles, FedEx Express is diversifying its fleet, adding an FCCC eCell to its current four Navistar eStar all-electric vehicles, and is in the midst of adding 45 new FCCC-Eaton hybrid-electric pickup and delivery vehicles to its fleet.
“Different vehicles are appropriate for different routes,” explains Keshav Sondhi, manager of Asset Management for FedEx Express Global Vehicles. “The key is to use the right truck for the mission on the right route. FedEx Express is adding all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles to dense urban routes that have a lot of starting and stopping. This use of regenerative braking and electric motors significantly improves the efficiency of the vehicles on such urban routes.
“On high-mileage routes, FedEx is upgrading vehicles with 4,000 fuel efficient, lower emitting BlueTEC clean diesel Sprinter Vans. Each Sprinter is at least 100% more fuel efficient than the most commonly found alternative it replaces. Since launching our first Sprinter in 2000, we have put close to 1.4 billion miles on these more fuel efficient vehicles, saving over 66 million gallons of fuel compared to their predecessors.”
FedEx Express has also been piloting five composite vehicles from Utilimaster in Detroit, Memphis, Jackson, Tenn., and Jonesboro, Ark. Dubbed “The Reach,” it is able to achieve 35% better fuel economy than its predecessor and has been performing well. The smaller, more efficient engine and low weight of the composite materials, which includes recycled rubber material, resin, fiberglass and poly core, compared to aluminum, allows the vehicle to achieve these fuel efficiencies.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) announced yesterday (Jan. 19) limited-duration discounts on both its Camp Freightliner training course and parts, sales and service labor for any motorhome riding on a FCCC chassis.
The Gaffney, S.C.-based chassis manufacturer will waive the $50 co-pilot fee for Camp Freightliner classes scheduled for the month of February, while a 10% discount on parts and service will run through February 26 for sales at its Factory Service Center in Gaffney. For current Freightliner Chassis Owners Club (FCOC) members, this 10% discount is in addition to the 5% discount already received at the Factory Service Center.
Camp Freightliner is a comprehensive two-day training course where motorhome operators are educated about the benefits of and maintenance of their specific FCCC chassis, reviewing such topics such as the air brake and electrical system, maintenance intervals, weight distribution and vehicle storage. In addition, pilots and co-pilots have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of a Freightliner chassis firsthand, examining a
bare chassis to highlight and review its features. The classes eligible for the co-pilot discount are scheduled for Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 18-19.
Held at the company’s Factory Service Center in Gaffney, Camp Freightliner is now open to anyone interested in learning more about motorhoming, not just current FCCC owners.
“We recently opened Camp Freightliner to anyone who might be interested in moving from a towable or fifth-wheel to a Class A motorhome, or for people who just want to learn more about owning a motorhome, so we could educate them about chassis maintenance and give them an understanding what goes into owning and operating a Class A RV,” said Dave Hoover, customer support manager at FCCC.
Customers who visit the FCCC Factory Service Center are also encouraged to visit the manufacturing facility while in Gaffney. The chassis production center is located just down the road from the Factory Service Center, with tours of the facility given to interested parties in the mornings Monday through Friday.
To register for the discounted February Camp Freightliner classes, visit the FCC website at www.freightlinerchassis.com/mhMain.asp?page=CampFreightliner.
As summer kicks into high gear, spokespeople for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) are kicking off a busy season promoting RVing to a diverse group of potential customers.
The Herzog family is gearing up to show once again why they are the ideal family to tell the media that RV travel is the best way to see America, according to an RVIA news release. This summer the Herzogs will travel in a Winnebago hybrid RV on a Freightliner chassis powered by a diesel engine and electric motor.
Their trip coincides with the release of Brad’s latest children’s book, “S is for Save the Planet: A How-to-Be-Green Alphabet.” His book details the many environmental issues we face and suggests simple ways to help protect the planet.
Since 1996, the Herzogs, who live in Pacific Grove, Calif., have logged nearly 100,000 RV miles, spending time in all 48 contiguous states. As they travel, their RV is a summer classroom for their sons and an office for Brad as he blogs for GoRVing.com.
The Herzogs have effectively delivered RVIA messaging during countless interviews since they became RVIA spokespeople in 2000. In 2008 alone, these interviews resulted in more than 60 media hits that delivered over 1.3 million impressions. Brad’s blog postings have also received favorable response from RVing followers. The blog, which includes photos and anecdotes about the family’s trip across the country, was so appealing to readers that Brad continued to write for GoRVing.com even after the tour concluded.
RVer, adventurer and RVIA spokesperson Brian Brawdy is making the most of the media’s interest in Americans “going green.” Brawdy outfitted his Lance truck camper with an array of solar panels, a wind turbine and a rainwater collection and filtration unit, making the unit highly environmentally friendly. Brawdy’s RV attracts a lot of media interest, and allows him to talk to the press about what the RV industry and other RVers are doing to be green.
Over the past weeks Brawdy has been interviewed by several local television stations in Phoenix and Albuquerque, N. M., and has been featured in both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Albuquerque Journal. During his many print and broadcast interviews throughout the country, Brawdy delivered RVIA’s message points while putting a green face on the RVing experience.